Why experts believe there is still gold in Victoria
Victoria is in the midst of a gold fever and hobby fossickers are hoping to strike it lucky.
All that glisters is not gold, as Shakespeare wrote, and not everything that makes a metal detector go “ping” is either. Quite the opposite. You’ll quickly realise when hunting for the elusive precious metal that lead shot, rusty cans and twisted bits of junk metal – mostly historical junk metal, but junk nonetheless – hugely outnumber their precious yellow cousin. Chalk it up to the thrill of the chase.
We’re tramping the bushland out back of Amherst, a blip on the map near Talbot in Central Victoria. Armed with a metal detector and the expertise of Darren Kamp of Gold and Relics Gold Prospecting Adventures, I’m looking to strike it rich. The modern iteration of the Welcome Stranger, the 72-kilogram golden behemoth found in Moliagul in 1869, has to be out there somewhere – doesn’t it? Although I’d be satisfied with something like the two-kilogram nugget dubbed ‘You wouldn’t believe it’ by its anonymous finder near Ballarat in July, or even the 20-ounce mini version valued at around $35,000 found by a family walking on Bendigo’s outskirts on Mother’s Day.
“Gold prospecting isn’t a hobby, it’s a fever,” says Darren, who picked up the habit at 12, and turned it into a full-blown obsession on finding his first proper nugget as a young adult. His biggest find was a 24-ounce nugget 10 years ago, worth a cool $53,000 in today’s gold money. “It’s also a fever that’s highly contagious.”